Trial to grade students earlier supported by opposition

Gentofte Council will grade students beginning in year six rather than year eight, but education minister says proposal will not be included in primary school reform

Gentofte Council has been given permission by the government to start grading students from year six (11-year-olds) instead of year eight (13-year-olds) for a trial period starting next academic year until 2015.

The trial is voluntary and at least one school has chosen to participate, but the education minister, Christina Antorini (Socialdemokraterne), told Ritzau that she has no intention of extending the programme across the country.

“I don’t see the immediate need to give grades in all classes from year six,” Antorini said. “This is only a council trial in which the government has given permission to challenge state rules and limitations.”

Gentofte is one of nine so-called ‘free councils’ that are able to lobby the government to deviate from national legislation in different fields including education, employment and health.

“We need to take a look at the results of the trial when it is over but giving grades in all classes from year six is not included in the government’s plans for public school reform,” Antorini added.

Opposition party Venstre previously tried unsuccessfully to start grading from year six while in power, and the party now supports Gentofte’s trial.

“Grades are an important aspect of evaluation,” Venstre spokesperson Karen Ellemann told Ritzau. “It sends an important signal to students that their school work and their efforts are taken seriously.”

But Karen Egedal Andreasen, an education researcher at Aalborg University, argues that there is little benefit to giving children grades at an earlier age.

“There is no evidence that giving grades improves student’s competencies,” Andreasen told Ritzau. “A mark allows teachers to compare students. Weak students may then realise that they are not as strong as other students which may in turn affect the way parents and teachers treat the student.”



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